The spectacular keirin competition produced plenty of drama on the second morning of the Avanti BikeNZ Classic at Cambridge today.
The event at the Avantidrome is the first to offer qualifying points towards the 2016 Rio Olympics, comprising riders from Australia, USA, Malaysia, Scotland, Canada and Czech Republic.
Most of the big guns are through to the semifinals tonight, although not without some moments at the Avantidrome today.
Promising young gun Jeremy Presbury from Southland crashed high into the fencing in the opening heat after a coming together with world team sprint champion Ethan Mitchell, while Commonwealth Games teammates Simon van Velthooven and Matt Archibald had a close call in the final heat.
Presbury was later disqualified for initiating the contact with Mitchell although was unhurt in the crash, while no action was taken when Archibald took issue with van Velthooven’s over-taking manoeuvre.
Tonight’s racing will provide plenty of thrills with world champions Eddie Dawkins and Sam Webster, two time world champion Shane Perkins, Olympic medallist van Velthooven and Commonwealth Games kilo medallist Archibald all safely through.
There’s further international flavour with two Malaysian riders qualifying along with impressive Australian sprinter Patrick Constable and young Kiwi hopes Callum Saunders and Zac Williams.
The omnium will be concluded with the points race tonight, with two vastly differing competitions.
Scott Law has edged ahead of fellow Australian Sam Welsford after winning both the 1000m time trial in 1:03.322 and the flying lap in 13.152, with New Zealand’s 2011 world champion Aaron Gate lying in third but now nearly 20 points adrift.
The women’s omnium was again dominated by brilliant Australian Ashlee Ankudinoff, the 2010 team pursuit world champion. The 24 year old has won every discipline to date claiming the 500m time trial in 36.469s and the flying lap in 14.362 for an unassailable lead.
In other racing Rebecca Wiasak (Australia) won the elite women’s 25km points race from Commonwealth Games representative Georgia Williams, talented Southland teenager Nick Kergozou won the junior scratch race while the junior elimination titles were won by the Manawatu pair of Michaela Drummond and Campbell Stewart.
Tonight’s action features the keirin semifinals and finals, the points race to complete the omnium competition and the elite men’s scratch race. Tomorrow a new competition begins for the Avanti BikeNZ Cup with a full round of sprint competition and endurance racing, finishing with the spectacular Madison.
The event, which finishes on Saturday, has the heats from 10am and finals from 7pm with tickets available at the door.
CAPTION: Simon van Velthooven (left) on the charge in the men’s keirin led by fellow Commonwealth Games medallist Matt Archibald.
Photo courtesy Dianne Manson.